Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen claimed Sunday's Supercars race win in Townsville to reduce compatriot Scott McLaughlin's championship lead to 131 points.

The 2016 champ made a strong start from pole position and held off his Red Bull Holden Racing teammate Jamie Whincup to take the chequered flag for his team's second straight one-two finish but a reverse of Saturday's order.

McLaughlin started the race from seventh and fell as low as 11th by the end of the opening lap but his Shell V-Power Racing team brought him in earlier than his rivals for his first stop. The under-cut helped and he came back up the order once the latter stoppers completed their refuel, eventually finishing third for the second day running.

Whincup also opted for the early first stop and he took over the lead in the middle stint of the race but Van Gisbergen's tyres lasted better and he came roaring back to pass the reigning series champion shortly before the final stop.

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A late safety car bunched the field up and gave Whincup a four-lap dash to try and put a move on his teammate but Van Gisbergen held him off for his 27th career win.

"Man it is awesome," Van Gisbergen said. "Thanks to the guys and girls – the cars have been awesome all weekend. A good personal day for the #97 crew turned our car around in qualifying.

"A double one-two - that's awesome."

Whincup was pleased to be back fighting for race wins after a run of sub-par results.

"I couldn't be happier for the team," Whincup said. "Just a poor start and that put us behind the eight ball but it was awesome – there were no team orders, no cruising to the end. I pushed him hard and if there was a gap I would have taken it but he drove unbelievably well."

McLaughlin wasn't really in the fight for wins all weekend but managed to salvage two podium results nonetheless to protect his championship lead.

He praised his team's strategy that got him back towards the front after a poor start.

"They gave me an awesome strategy; the tyre life was fantastic. It just sucks I didn't get the best start I could have got," he said.

"I will take third today – it worked for us."

Craig Lowndes, who will retire at the season's end, finished a solid fourth.

Fabian Coulthard made good on a lowly starting position to finish eighth while fellow New Zealanders Andre Heimgartner and Richie Stanaway finished 12th and 20th respectively.

The next stop on the calendar is Queensland Raceway in Ipswich in a fortnight.

Championship Standings
Scott McLaughlin 2033 points
Shane van Gisbergen -131
David Reynolds -387
Jamie Whincup -403
Craig Lowndes -431
Fabian Coulthard -603